June 19, 2017 - Robert John Hadfield
Even Teen Agers Care!
I had an amazing revelation at our family reunion this weekend.
This weekend we had a family reunion. My mother scheduled it for Father’s Day Weekend this year. She rented a huge house in Idaho on Bear Lake so we could all stay together. My parents have three children, so between spouses, grandchildren (and one great grandchild), we had just over 20 people under the same roof.
As with many events like this, there was a roller coaster of fun, laughter, and general emotion. Memories run wild, talk of childhood adventures, mishaps, and a lifetime of experiences. For a few short days the bittersweet moments of life both tear at your soul and fill your heart with gratitude.
But my mother took that history a step further this time.
My mother is a nut for genealogy. She has an entire room in her house she calls the ancestor room. And as part of this family reunion, she created a nightly activity that would take us on a journey to a more distant past.
Each night she gathered everyone together and brought out a board with several photos. Each of the photos was clearly taken in the 19th century. My mother asked one of the grandchildren to come up and pick one of the photos on the board. Once the grandchild had made the selection, my mother proceeded to tell us about the person in the photo.
It’s tough to explain why, but the stories were fascinating! I assume it has to do with the fact that we have part of these people within us. Not just their blood, but their experiences, their background, etc. These people raised the people who raised the people who raised us. Perhaps their habits, their ideas, their opinions and personalities had filtered through three to four generations and were expressing themselves in that room – and we didn’t even know it.
But almost more interesting than the stories were the responses by the teen agers. One would expect that teens would be preoccupied with texting, joking, etc. But instead, they sat in silent focused attention as my mother read these brief descriptions and stories of their ancestors. Even my 17 year old son stood straight up, and seemed absolutely fascinated. Even after the stories were over my son kept talking to my mother about them.
The swimming, the water trampoline, basketball, great food, jet skis, etc. were incredibly fun, but among the true highlights of the reunion was simply learning about our heritage.
As I walked back into my studio today and looked at the thousands of video and audio tapes that we are in the process of digitizing, it made me grateful to be a part of such heritage preservation. Even the boxes of tapes we receive from government agencies are recordings of real people with real opinions living real lives and making real decisions.
I have heard many people over the years question the need to preserve their lives, their thoughts, etc. I have heard people ask, "Who would care about watching or listening to these tapes besides me?"
The truth is, someone someday will care immensely. Someday a teenage boy or girl will see your name and want to know who you were, what you thought and how you lived. Those tapes will be invaluable to their hunger to learn and connect with you.
Take the time right now to make sure your legacy is preserved. Let us convert your audio and video tapes to digital. Don’t wait another day.